Report on Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the European CME Forum, London, UK, November 2014


Report on Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the European CME Forum, London, UK, November 2014

Ron Murray

Independent CME/CPD Consultant, 17 Rosamund Avenue, Pickering, North Yorkshire, UK


Participants from three continents attended the Seventh Annual Meeting of the European CME Forum in London between 13 and 14 November 2014. Practical examples of needs assessment and outcomes measurement in CME and continuing professional development (CME-CPD) were provided as well as examples of simulation and virtual patient use in e-learning. Funding options and updates in accreditation and regulatory practice were discussed, and attendees were able to hear the views of education experts, learners in training and representatives of accreditation organisations and commercial supporters. Case studies and panel discussions complemented the invited presentations.

Keywords: CME, CPD, activities, providers, accreditation, outcomes, needs assessment

Received: 16 December 2014 Accepted: 22 December 2014 Published online: 29 January 2015

Journal of European CME (JECME) 2015. © 2015 Ron Murray. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.

Citation: Journal of European CME 2015, 4: 27021 -


From around the corner and across oceans and continents, from Europe, Asia and the Americas, with a range of native tongues, attendees gathered at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London on 13th and 14th November 2014 for the Seventh Annual Meeting of the European CME Forum. Representatives of medical education providers, accreditation organisations, healthcare professions, pharmaceutical and device industries, academia and independent consultancies were in attendance, with around a third of them involved in global projects related to CME/CPD. Experts, novices, vested interests and interested observers participated in debate, discourse and discussion that elicited a mixture of contention, harmony and fun.

This year’s forum meeting began with an overview by Eugene Pozniak of key milestones in European CME since the Sixth Annual Meeting, including the global shift towards transparency reflected in the voluntary guidelines being proposed by pharmaceutical and medical device company organisations in Europe. Eugene also stated that a driver for the meeting content was based on the results of a pre-meeting survey of attendees where the measurement of outcomes was their most important issue followed by needs assessment.

The opening session focused on the topic of needs assessment when Dr Kiki Lombarts of the University of Amsterdam highlighted a recent ACCME synthesis of systematic reviews which found that needs-based CME does lead to greater improvement in physician performance and patient health if it is more interactive, uses a range of methods, involves multiple exposures, is lengthier, and is focused on outcomes considered important by physicians.

A case study of an innovative international (six country) needs assessment in multiple sclerosis was then shared by delegates Suzanne Murray and Veronique Moy. They highlighted the importance of well-funded, iterative needs assessments where results can be used for interventions such as communications training and performance improvement initiatives.

Session 2 was a panel discussion on CME funding where representatives from industry, an accreditation body and healthcare professionals’ membership organisations compared funding systems with particular emphasis on the different roles of commercial supporters of CME in the USA and Europe. Some of the issues emerging from the discussion included:

  • compliance with tax laws,
  • avoidance of corruption,
  • unfunded practice-based CME,
  • absence of proof of connection between commercial support and bias,
  • blurred lines in defining direct and indirect funding.

Emerging issues for further discussion were the fact that insurance companies’ role in CME funding may increase and the evolution of funding partnerships for areas such as Quality Improvement and Inter-professional Education.

The afternoon of day 1 began with a session that focused on theoretical and practical aspects of e-learning with demonstrations of simulation in medical education, an authoring system for a virtual patient programme and a detailed description of a blended inter-professional educational initiative by delegate Thomas Kleinoeder. An interesting observation by Dr Kleinoeder was the apparent decline in the uptake of massive open online courses (MOOCs) – the much heralded topic of previous sessions on educational trends. Predictions for future enhancements in e-learning focused on gamification and the increased use of smaller open-access educational resources.

The provocative title of the final session of day 1 – CME on Trial did not disappoint in raising some contentious issues from the panel discussion. Moderated by health journalist Jacqui Thornton, the panel comprising a British cardiologist, Canadian CPD professional, European Commission (EC) official and the Chair of the European Hematology Association’s CME Unit delved into a number of thorny issues related to accreditation, regulation and practice improvement. Perhaps the most-telling comment from the discussion came from the EC fonctionnaire Caroline Hager who indicated that the EC would not be involved in any regulation of CME across the European Union. This is hardly surprising given the plethora of different CME requirements among the EU countries where 19 of the 28 members have “mandatory” CME which may not be the same as “enforced” CME. The consensus from the attendees and panellists seemed to favour self-regulation rather than government regulation.

Day 1 – word of the day: accreditation

The second day of the forum meeting began with a series of conversational interviews designed to highlight topic areas deemed important to the attendees according to the pre-meeting needs assessment survey. Dr Robin Stevenson conducted the first conversation with Dr Don Moore of Vanderbilt University who described various aspects of the system of CME in North America, summarising it as “informal,” “formal” and “incidental” education with an extended description of regularly scheduled series such as Grand Rounds and Tumor Boards making up a significant proportion of CME offerings in the USA. Stevenson commented on the dearth of practice-based CME in Europe and of CME courses such as those aimed at addressing Disruptive Physician Behavior offered by Vanderbilt and other institutions in the USA. The topic of provider versus activity accreditation was also raised and the relative merits of each discussed.

Dr Edwin Borman then took over the interviewer role to discuss the role of industry with Dr Eva Thalmann of Janssen Medical Affairs Europe. The main thrust of this conversation was that industry and the medical profession are moving in tandem towards self-regulation and that industry seeks to be recognised as an educational partner and not just a financial contributor.

The final conversation saw Dr Borman in his role as Secretary General of UEMS respond to questions from Lawrence Sherman. Key points that emerged on the EACCME application process were potential moves towards granting “preferred provider” status and a call for more innovative educational activities such as the TED talk model, use of the flipped classroom system and provider collaboration in CME planning and implementation.

For session 6, Don Moore, doyen of outcomes levels, conducted a role-play workshop on backwards planning to illustrate how an outcomes scaffolding model can be used to plan and assess a CME activity. The mini workshop was complemented with a delegate presentation by Celeste Kolanko and Alisa Pearlstone of PCM Scientific. Their case study described the generation of self-reported clinical practice changes by participants in a series of international CME conferences.

The lunch break provided the opportunity to hear the views of three local physicians who indicated that learning objectives were of little interest to them in choosing CME activities, but did see potential for gamification in enhancing e-learning.

Two brave souls volunteered to enter the forum’s version of the Dragons’ Den TV programme and submitted a theoretical CME activity outline to a panel playing the roles of a learner, an accreditor, an education expert, and an activity director. These experts and the audience provided honest feedback for each presentation, highlighting the key features of needs assessment, accreditation requirements and resource management.

Lawrence Sherman’s “unsession” closed the meeting and led to discussion of a range of topics including the scope of disclosure, point of care CME, and the continuing discussion on transparency.

Day 2 – word of the day: gamification

Full details of the presentations and support materials may be accessed at the European CME Forum website, The Twitter feed for the meeting can also be obtained at

Further discussion of these issues and new emerging topics await those attending the 2015 meeting in Manchester.

Declaration of interest

I have no financial relationships with any commercial interests.

Correspondence: Ron Murray, Independent CME/CPD Consultant, 17 Rosamund Avenue, Pickering, North Yorkshire YO18 7HF, UK. E-mail:

About The Author

Ron Murray
Independent CME/CPD Consultant
United Kingdom

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